NASA Does the Parade Wave and Moon Walk

If you didn’t get a chance to watch the inaugural parade yesterday in honor of the new US president, here are a few NASA-related pictures and videos. NASA seemingly made a good impression on President and Michelle Obama by bringing up the rear of the parade with the new Lunar Electric Rover. The LER pivoted, pirouetted, and performed flawlessly as the crowd cheered wildly and the Obamas seemed transfixed by the rover. Too bad many of the spectators in the Presidential booth had already left. Take a look:

Compare the new rover with the old “moon buggy” from the 1970’s Apollo missions:

UPDATE: Here’s a link to more images from NASA from the parade.

Check out NASA’s website for more information about the LER.

25 Replies to “NASA Does the Parade Wave and Moon Walk”

  1. Nice! Now if only we could figure out a way to land a 2 ton rover on the moon… We would be in great shape.

    There is a reason why this rover is so much cooler: its too big and too heavy, and will never be sent to the moon in this form.

  2. Conic,in the rocket Ares V there will be space for 5 school buses I think, or they won’ t use rockets like this ?

  3. The new lander weighs 45 mT.
    The LEM was about 15 mT.
    This craft is at least 2mT
    The lunar rover was about .2 mT

    That is a 10 fold increase in payload on that one item. I guess it is possible. But I suspect it will really require an unmanned payload mission. That is a great idea, but at what cost? That would be a 5 billion dollar mission alone.

    I am all for us throwing our full efforts into a major moon mission, but I just cant help but doubt that the money will show up any time soon. They will cut back drastically whenever possible, and a rover this great (despite being an ideal model for a roving mars hab) will probably be an easy place to start. Its just ultra heavy. Dont forget that during the apollo era, when they had far more money to throw around (3x as much money or so?), they were still shaving weight down religiously.

    Maybe our economy will have exploded by 2020 and our exceptional wealth will cover all of this.

  4. I think the new lunar rovers make more sense than a lunar base.
    Having a base implies there’s some good reason or resource that requires us to stay put… but at the moment, there isn’t.

    I’d put the whole damn show on wheels and go for a road trip around the moon. Studying as much as we can before deciding where to set down permanent roots.

    So far as landing the rovers, isn’t Altair supposed to be mostly automated?
    Strip one down and put the rover on top for a one way trip.

  5. My first reaction was similar to Conics – I will believe it when the complete system with delivery is funded and built – a prototype demo like this is not big dollars.
    However I can think of one big advantage – if you want to stay on the moon more than 2 weeks, you can land this rover somewhere near Shackleton, and just drive around and around it – you will never run out of sunlight! That matters – storing solar energy for 2 weeks of darkness, or flying reactors to the moon, is a big increase in weight/budget.
    Does this rover offer protection from a solar storm? If not a refuge underground is needed in a few hours driving range.

  6. The vehicle has water panels in the roof and sides to soak up solar protons,

    What hasn’t got energy stored to allow it to roam more than 61+ miles out and back.. I think. The releases have been vague on this. It can’t travel hundreds of miles if it has to return to the base for recharging.

    What’s the answer? Drag along its own solar panel chzrging station? Wrap some solar panels around the white sides? An RTG power source? At least with solar panels it could slowly recover power and keep exploring. Or maybe the riders can be seated on bicycle type rechargers. We’ve had too many sf stories about the astronaught dying heroicly only yards short of safety… Lets skip that…

  7. Olaf, whether on Earth, on Moon or in space: a mass of 2 tons will always be a mass of 2 tons (as long as no relativistic effects occure).

  8. There is never any problem with the cost as the money is always spent to pay the wages and associated costs of everyone who helps produce it. Thus all that money is spread throughout the nation. The problem only becomes so when tax is the only mechanism to pay those costs.

  9. When I first heard about the chariot (the chassis of this thing) they wanted a multi-purpose flatbed truck for the moon. Something that could serve as transport, rover, and bulldozer.

    They wanted to have it remote controlled so the machine could continue working between astronaut visits. So I suspect self sufficiency was in the plans.

    Makes enough sense to me.
    Stick on an arm and some solar panels, you could drive it (unmanned) between landing sites to meet astronauts on arrival and do some geology work or camp setup along the way.

  10. “Olaf, whether on Earth, on Moon or in space: a mass of 2 tons will always be a mass of 2 tons (as long as no relativistic effects occure).”

    I’m guessing that is why he said “weigh” and not “mass”. It takes into account the force of gravity.

  11. You will get the money spent back in 10 fold even more. The technology discovered will make the US become a leader again. Look al all the technology created by the lunar landing. Chips, microprocessors, microwave, tefal,…

  12. I was joking about the weight that it was only 333 kg on the Moon. The real cost is to send it up from Earth. 😉

  13. I watched the inaugural parade on TV, and – being not an American – I am very impressed. Congratulations!

    But in the meantime I read on the NASA web site:
    “Michael Griffin’s tenure with NASA ended on Jan. 20, 2009”.

    Michael Griffin has given notice before, and he has told his … ahem … reasons.

    For me it is irresponsible leaving NASA without top management just when the new president of the U.S.A. has a lot to do with setting up a new government and being confronted with all the problems. Michael Griffin destroyed all his reputation.

    I hope new NASA management will be a more responsible one.

  14. @Alex Jones — When a new administration comes in, all the current officials give their resignations. Since they were appointed by the previous administration, it is the choice of the new administration to keep them or not. Griffen’s resignation was accepted, so his tenure is over, so no irresponibility on his part (for leaving that is).

  15. @DaveKan

    I’m not quite with you.

    Some time ago Griffin said something like: if the new U.S. president changes anything in the budget, then he, Griffin, will resign. Some time later, Griffin resigned indeed. Friends of Griffin and his family made a petition, that the president elect should ask Griffin not to leave. Nothing like that happened.

    Griffin is not a member of the U.S. government, and there are a lot of other organisations in the U.S.A. the administrators of which did not resign – and they don’t have to, only because there is a new government. It is not true, that, as you say, “all the current officials give their resignations”. Of course, “it is the choice of the new administration to keep them or not” – afterwards.

    If Griffin tried to (I think this is the appropriate term) blackmail Obama, it has been foolish, if not contemptible.

  16. Its been said Obama wanted to keep Griffin (supposedly to prevent any delays in constellation), but its not like he can chain the man to his desk.

    I doubt its going to destroy the Obama presidency to replace Griffin… but if he wanted the man so badly he would obviously have had to meet his demands.
    Simple as that.

  17. Let’s say good by and thank you for your good work to Michael Griffin and Shana Dale, and let’s look forward.

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